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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 14, 2016 6:00am-6:51am EDT

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>> at 10:00 eastern, a hearing on the electric grid and how to protect it from failures and fiber attacks. live coverage on c-span3 and www.c-span.org. later, a hearing on using service dogs to help military veterans with ptsd. live coverage on a national security begins at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. we had a couple of meals and a steam shovel. and i think again, it is one of
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the other ironies to these so rapidly antigovernment and owe your entire fortune to the government. >> of the night on "q&a," the book "the profiteers." and takes a look at one of the largest corporations and construction companies in the world. >> the united states government will please projects throughout the world. i think, it is time for it, but it is the american taxpayers paying for it. it seems they should have some about information the contracts, the amount of safety, theorkers' political relationships. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a."
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>> the campaign 2016 bus continues its travels to visit winners from this year's studentcam competition. the bus recently visited nevada to recognize the third prize horsentary on the wolild population in united states. the bus then went to california to meet with studentcam winner state, including a visit to san diego. ambra, california judy chu visits a second prize winners for their winning documentary on a social security called "a sense of security." a special thanks to
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charter, comcast, cox, and time warner. yesterday, secretary of state john kerry presented the state department's annual report on human rights around the world. secretary kerry highlighted human rights violations in the middle east, related to the syrian civil war and isis. following his remarks, the assistant secretary of state for human rights answers questions from reporters. this is 40 minutes. john kerry: i have to run from year to a meeting on a number of issues. forgive me if i dash out of he e
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e. i will take some questions and then i think tom is going to come to the podium and make some statements. we will be commenting on these events, but let me, at this moment wait until we do alit little more homework with respect to that. i am glad you are here for the release of the human rights practices report for 2015. i want to thank tom malinowski and his team for creating these materials. effortly an all year and work will begin today. this is the 40th addition, which is without doubt, the department's most widely read
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publication. it is a model of comprehensive research. i want to stress about the standard that is applied in the compiling of this report. the norms refer to in this report, in these reports, are universal norms. they are not something we make up. they are not some arbitrary standard of the united states which we seek to impose on people. these are universal standards of human rights that have been adopted and accepted and are a great to by most nations in the whod, and even some nations have agreed to them, but violated them. these are the international standards. in the arena of human rights, every government has the ability to improve, including the united states. the point that we make over and over again is that respecting human rights isn't just a moral
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obligation, it is an opportunity to harness the full energy of the country's population in building a cohesive and prosperous society. it does not jeopardize stability. it enhances that and we can measure that an country after country where human rights are respected. people are happier. people are freer to pursue their own designs. they are happier and freer to be artistic and creative and be entrepreneurial. and to make a difference in the building of a community. and that is not a theory. that is a fact that is proven every day in countries around the world. countries that suppress freedom of expression are less likely to have economies that innovate diversify,. and grow. and the societies that discriminate against women and minorities particularly, have trouble competing against those that benefit from the
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contributions of all of their citizens. and governments that deny political liberty forfeit public trust. thereby opening the door to types, unrest of all including violent extremism. it is also a fact that countries where governance is really bad for nonexistent, or corrupt, our countries that also wind up seeing remarkable abuses within their criminal justice system, if there is one, for in the day to day treatment of people. here is the truth we believe. a government that fail to respect human rights, no matter how lofty its pretensions, has very little to boast about, to teach, and very little indeed in the way of reaching its full potential. it is important to underscore
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that the reports that we released today, as luminous as they are, represent just a tiny fraction of what this department does to advance freedom and dignity across the globe. human rights are part of our agenda with everything will nation. and also with multilateral organizations to which we bel ong/ not a day goes by without one or more of our officials in his department advocating on behalf of basic liberties, speaking out against corruption, pressing for the release of political prisoners, were underscoring our support for constitutional procedures and the rule of law. myself, to add for every official travels on behalf of our country, we raise
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specific names, specific cases, individuals with leaders in countries around the world. in the past year i have traveled whereost of countries backing for human rights is a focus for diplomacy. is includes the states of central asia, where civil society is heavily embattled. and includes reject, where i emphasized the importance of distinguishing between violence and nonviolence. includes cuba, where president obama and i urged the authorities to allow more political openness. there is no question in my mind that most cubans are far more interested in plugging into the world economy then in recycling arguments left over from the cold war. the only question is how long it will take for the officials in havana to catch up to the population. of course, not every
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conversation that we have on human rights bears fruit. and certainly, not immediately and not in all areas. but steady effort we have seen again and again, can foster progress and make a difference. and i particularly want to emphasize that one life saved is a difference worth fighting for. for example, we have seen important democratic aids in such countries as tunisia, nigeria, sri lanka, and burma. the lineage there are challenges that still need to be overcome, but we are working closely with each of those countries and efforts to help meet those challenges. vietnam is another example. the country remains a single party state, but and away has pledged as a member of the transpacific partnership to allow for the formation of independent trade unions for the first time, a potential
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significant advance for freedom of association for workers. we have welcomed the release in the past month of a number of political prisoners and we hope for more. we believe that expanding freedom of expression and political participation will do much to strength in that country and our relationship. s spellan rights report out our concerns on every continent, but the most widespread and dramatic violations in 2015 for those in the middle east. where the confluence of terrorism and the syrian conflict caused enormous suffering. crisisdiscussed in this in this region repeatedly in recent weeks. i am just going to highlight a few points right now. first, the united states wants
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those responsible for committing human rights abuses in syria, iraq, and elsewhere to be held accountable for their actions. to that end, we are supporting international efforts to investigate, collect, analyze, and preserve evidence of atrocities. cannd, we are doing all we to aid the victims of human rights abuses, including counsel and other assistance for women and girls who have endured liberty. third, with our partners we aesh,nue to go after d shrinking its territory, to greeting its leadership, hammering its revenue sources, cutting a supply lines and rallying the world against it's a genocidal actions and ideology. and finally, we are deeply committed to the search for political solutions to the conflict in syria.
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including full access to humanitarian supplies, sustainment of the cessation of hostilities, the release of the most vulnerable prisoners, and a syrian led legal transition in accordance with the geneva mena k of 2012 and un security council 2254. given the horrors of these last five years, i cannot imagine a more powerful blow for human rights been putting the decisive end to this war. repressionor, to the and especially, to the torture and indiscriminate bombing and thereby, make possible a new beginning to the syrian people. there are some who believe that after decades of dictatorship and years of bloodshed, syria can never recover. well, i disagree with that. and i think the example of the
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human species and the human spirit in so many different places and in so many different times in history shows exactly how resilient people can be. in many ways, it is the untold howy in recent years of disparate groups of brave syrians have managed to keep their communities alive amongst the most incredible hardship and carnage. violence has declined over the course of the last weeks. we have seen evidence of this resilience already in the operation of local councils, the organization of relief networks, and the resumption of nonviolent political activity. there is no guarantee that syrians will be able to put their country together again, but after all they have been through, they deserve the fairest opportunity to be able to try. n todayspoke with stefa
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from geneva and we talked about the reconvening of peace talks at this particular moment and i want to emphasize on his behalf and on behalf of the international syrian support group and all of the nations involved in this, we urge all of the participants on one side or the other, all of the combatants , the regime, others. to it here to the cessation of hostilities. there is an opportunity in these days ahead to be able to negotiate according to geneva que of 2012. the iranians have signed up, the russians have signed up, the is, mosthe saud european countries -- all
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countries a part of the support group -- and we strongly urge givef the combatants to stefan and his team the opportunity to do their work and the next hours and days in geneva. before i close, i want to say a word about the issue of torture. i want to remove even a scintilla of doubt or confusion that has been caused by statement the other separate in recent weeks and months. the united states is opposed to the use of torture in any form orany time by any government nonstate actor. america's commitment to the humane treatment of persons in captivity began as far back as but general george washington and the revolutionary war. has been reaffirmed calmest times throughout history.
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we declare this opposition to torture yet again just last year . bipartisan legislation was approved by the united states congress. this is a standard we insisted the others meet and therefore, we must meet this standard ourselves. theow personally that fierce anger that arises in war when fellow countrymen are attacked, whether they are soldiers or civilians, can sometimes prompt your he, bridge rage, revenge, but there is a sharp dividing line between societies that have abandoned all standards and those that do their absolute best to maintain those standards. because ultimately, upholding core values is what makes the nation strong. i am pleased now to turn the floor over to tom malinowski for
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his remarks and for your questions. thank you all. tom: thank you, everybody. my thanks to the secretary. and also want to begin by thanking all of the hundreds and hundreds of people who work so hard over a period of months to compile these reports from steven eisen brown and his team to the hundreds of wonderful human rights workers we have an embassy is all around the world who do the leg work. we are very proud of what the human rights reports have come to represent after 40 years of doing them. the reports help to keep us honest with ourselves and with
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the world about allies and adversaries alike. we still have our debates and disagreements around here about how to address the challenges that are outlined in the reports, but when it comes time to settle a policy, this document and chores that we all ensures this document that we all argue from the same set of facts. the secretary focused his remarks on syra and that is where i will start because the crisis shows just how vital the defense of human rights is. in syria we see how human rights abuses in one small country can have consequences far beyond that small country's borders, from a refugee exodus that is altering the politics in europe, to a terrorist group that threatens us all. i think syria also shows us something that is a little more encouraging. when you thing about how a
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crisis there began five years ago, it began with ordinary citizens going out on their streets, holding peaceful marches and rallies to ask for basic freedoms. in response, they were met with scuder fire, go missiles, with chemical attacks, with mass torture, with cruelties that one would think would leave any ordinary human being completely numb and hopeless. and yet, what did syrians do the cessation ofhe hostilities that secretary kerry helped to negotiate give them a fragile respite from all of those horrors? they went out onto the streets holding peaceful rallies and marches, asking for the same basic freedoms they asked for five years ago. that is something we have taken note of here. everything we are doing in syria
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is done with the aim of helping those people win back the country that is worthy of the sacrifices they have had to make. a country that is free of both nihilism of daesh and of the brutality of the assad regime, for their sake and for hours. now, these reports contain a lot of unhappy stories from many countries. they come at a time when it seems that authoritarian governments, beginning with influential powers like russia and china, are striking out with particular ferocity against freedoms of expression, association, and the press. at the introduction to the report, you will find a section where we try to itemize and responded point by point to the arguments that secretary kerry and i and others here get when we travel around the world from
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government going after a civil society, which i hope you will find interesting. the trend obviously, disturbs us. it ought to disturb us, but i don't think it ought to surprise us. civil society has become a growing force around the world. so, if you are trying to steal an election or stay in office for life, or profit from corruption, that of course you will be threatened by ngo's and journalists to try to expose those abuses of power. in all these countries, there are people who base that kind of security in and just carry on with faith and determination and even good humor. secretary kerry and i meet people like that in all of our avels, from cuba to vietnam. and they always remind us, every chance that we have to meet them, that there is always something the united states can do to help.
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the secretary mentioned in some places where sustained u.s. efforts have helped over the last year. we are focused on how to push for more progress in the year ahead. elected civilian government has begun to free political prisoners. we will do everything we can to peace with seeking minorities and addressing the human rights and humanitarian challenges of the state. vietnam, we have the chance to break the government's monopoly on labor organizations. president obama's's visit to vietnam in may will .ncourage progress in a nigeria, we will support a
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newly elected government in its fight, gearing our systems to a strategy that wins the trust of the civilian population by protecting them and respecting their rights. in tunisia, we are increasing our support to civil society groups and the government to strengthen the most hopeful model of governance to emerge from the era of strength. en iran, we will be strengthening our campaign against daesh. venezuela, we are working with partners to persuade the government to listen to the will of its people by releasing political prisoners and respecting the newly elected parliament. in sri lanka, we will be urging reconciliation and justice in keeping with the joint resolution the government
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sponsored with us at the u.n. human rights cancel. in china, given all of the hardships the people working for better governance there now face, we think it is now especially important to stand by the lawyers being imprisoned for doing their jobs, by the religious minorities are secured for their faith, the activists and journalists being i objected for speaking out. in march, wee mobilized the first joint statement in over a decade. we will continue to try to forge a common front with our allies and friends on these issues. there are a lot of other topics like a discuss. before i finish, i would like to raise one final issue that is central to everything we are trying to do to advance human rights around the world. and that is the fight against corruption.
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secretary kerry has said that there is nothing more demoralizing and disempowering to any citizen of any nation than the believe that the system is rigged against of them and people in positions of power are theks who are stealing future of their own people. but there is nothing harder for dictators to justify than stealing from their own people. corruption is a uniquely pernicious feature of authoritarianism and its greatest political vulnerability. we have heard a lot recently about how some of the world's most powerful people have been able to evade taxes and hide their wealth, some of which may have been ill gotten with the help of services that provide financial figures the two clients who can pay. in certain quarters, it has been suggested that these revelations can only be some kind of american plot.
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ll, if the allegation is that the united states supports law enforcement agencies and civil society groups around the world that expose this kind of corruption, then we take it as a big couple met. that is what we should be doing and we will keep on doing. llow this story, one thing i would like you to keep in mind is that for two years now, the obama administration has been asking congress for legislation that would require all companies registered in the united states to identify the human beings who actually own them. there are many members of congress, as you know, who support the cause of human rights and impress us every day in the state department. i would argue that the most important thing they can do to advance human right this year is to pass legislation to keep our legal and financial systems from being used to facilitat
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hypocrisy and corruption overseas. toh that, i would be happy hand it over. to answer aask you few questions. >> i wanted to ask you. the secretary said of the human rights was a moral obligation. should the obligation -- if so, what steps of the taken to hold him accountable to the human rights violations? the simple answer to your question is, yes. it should and it does. these issues are issues we have raised with every country around the world. we raised them with our adversaries. we raised them with our closest allies and the secretary has raised those issues with the israeli government on many many
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occasions. look, we have always argued that israel has a right to defend itself against terror attacks. that is a human rights imperative in and of itself, whether those attacks come in the form of indiscriminate rocket fire or people stabbing civilians on the streets. but that right to defend itself, as we have always argued, needs to be exercised in a manner consistent with israel's obligations under human rights law and humanitarian law, whether that is in the occupied territories or in israel itself. >> where would you say this accelerating trend could stifle freedom has been most stark in 2015? you mentioned china, russia, maybe turkey. >> i mentioned china -- you
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could pick a lot of countries, unfortunately. i mentioned china and russia because they are particularly influential countries. determinede efforts to legislate and end freedom of association in a country as large and influential as russia or china, whether it of foreigntargeting 's and the ngo treatment of russians campaigning against torture or for free elections as if they are somehow traitors to their country. conflation of peacef withtivism and journalism terrorism through legislation.
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that is a particular concern because those practices are much more likely to be copied in other countries. so, that is why i would single them out. otheruld mention a lot of examples, but then there are also, as the secretary and i both mentioned, there are places where civil society is holding its own and fighting back and democracy is a grandson. -- and democracy is advancing. i had one of the most moving experiences in my time at the state department yesterday meeting a group of newly i.e.nted chief ministers, governors. they were government ministers from burma who came to washington, people who were activists and in some cases, political prisoners. in a country where for 25 years, we were struggling alongside them to bring about democratic
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change. very few ever thought we would make it. and there they are, for the last 10 days they have been in charge, trying to figure out how to bring services to their people. it if it can happen there, can happen absolutely anywhere. keeps uskind of stuff going in the face of some of the more depressing news that we are bound to talk to you about in these reports. >> thank you. i wanted to ask specifically about china. the report notes that a marked increase over the last year and oppression against civil society organizations. you mentioned the disappearance of lawyers. can you talk a little bit about what ucs the drivers behind this trend. -- a little bit about what you see as the drivers behind this trend.
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>> i think it is a universal truth that the driver behind this is insecurity. they are actually communicating a great weakness beneath the surface. chinese people, as you know, over the last decade in particular have become connected peopleough the internet to all around the world, to information. they have become wealthier. their expectations have grown. and like people everywhere else, they want to live in a country where the rule of law is a respected and corruption is punished and environmental problems are not swept under the rug. they want the same thing as people anywhere else. and the government senses that and feels insecure and cracks down. that when we speak out
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on these issues, we are 100% in line width of the aspirations of most ordinary people in china. that is another thing that gives us confidence. if we continue to speak out in a consistent and principled way, aligned with our allies around the world and with people in china who are working peacefully for their rights, that over time, we will be successful. you talked about syria. what is the most concerning issue regarding the human rights there? >> how much time do you have? [laughter] tend to resist ranking things, for obvious reasons. that is not the headline i want to encourage. syria is by far the greatest
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mind, not just in the middle east, but everywhere in the world. 's secretary said there is no greater blow -- the secretary said that there is no greater blow that could strike human rights thean to end the war that has killed so many. there are a lot of other challenges, from supporting young democracies like tunisia -- they are trying to do everything right -- to dealing with setbacks, for example, like the sort we have seen in egypt over the last couple of years. we have a lot of shared interests with friends and partners in the middle east. above all, we have the shared interest of fighting terrorism i n its most recent and awful manifestation. is represented by daesh. the message we have sent to
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all of our partners -- we deliver this message to a number of countries. could slate peaceful oppositions with people who are things up, you are going to get more people blowing things up because he reinforces the fundamental argument of the terrorist. that there is absolutely no -- that these will politics offers no hope. so, we will continue to deliver that message. and to express our expectations to all the governments with which we work in the region. page wasear the
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three pages. pages.ar, it is -- [indiscernible] >> first, i hope you read the words, rather than counting the pages. [laughter] but the words to convey serious concern. i will start with recognizing the overwhelming challenges turkey faces right now. some of them are the consequences of the war in syria. turkey has borne the project that war more than any country in the region. it has taken a huge number of syrian refugees and not h
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erded them into refugee camps, but enable them to integrate into the country. and that is something that we applaud. it has been hit repeatedly by terrorist acts. terrorist attacks have claimed the lives of innocent or persistence. -- innocent turkish citizens. at the thin time, we have tried to support turkey in meeting those enormous challenges. we always make clear to the government that the quality of turkish democracy matters to us and we think, matters to turkey's future. we have expressed concern and you have heard from this podium and seen in this report, very strong concern about prosecutions of journalists, of theemics about tightening space for freedom of expression in turkey.
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the takeover of his papers. and i would note that we spoke out about such problems when the president was in opposition. in fact, when a previous turkish government put him on trial, the united states embassies sent people to observe his trial. so, this has been a feature of our policy towards turkey for many years and we hope it will continue to be a feature. last one. the >> what is the difference between freedom and human rights? i am asking because yesterday a u.s. international religious brought a they special report at the national press meeting on pakistan and also, international religious
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freedom. finally, how much do you rely on reports as human rights reporting is concerned. tom: what is the difference? i would say religious freedom is a subset of human rights. human rights is a very broad concept that encompasses all of the different rights that we enjoy as human beings. one of them is the right to worship freely without interference from the government. a put out, as you know, special report on respect, or lack there of, of that right around the world. it is a subset of human rights. and in terms of sourcing for the reports, we rely on a wide variety of sources, which we consider to be credible. very rarely do we rely on just one source. i don't think we would rely on a
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single press report if we were not able to corroborate it. >> you were talking yesterday -- they are not free. this was in a special do report. also, they were talking about human rights. all of these issues. my concern is, how do you differentiate their? -- how do you differentiate there? i don't see any differentiation. >> thanks, everybody. thanks for coming. thank you! >> american history tv on
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c-span3. this weekend, saturday night at 8:00 eastern, barry goldwater atir of american institution arizona state, university and former white house counsel to president than convicted in the watergate scandal. john dean teaches about watergate. >> i was aware of listening devices, yes, sir. >> were those devices placed in the oval office? ofapproximately, the summer 1970. i cannot begin to recall the precise date. >> actually, the dates are a little wrong. february 16 is when the system was put in the oval office. next was the cabinet room. and ultimate later after that, the eob office. >> and then sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. eastern on road to the white house rewind. >> we all owe an equal part.
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goodve not been very students of this great country, but you are setting the example to rebuild a government. and god bless you for that. >> the 1992 campaign for ross perot from a campaign rally that may, as well as an october news conference. sunday morning at 6:00 on "american artifacts." >> the things joseph pulitzer instituted in it newspapers are seen in newspapers today. wordtionalism is the one that is often linked to joseph pulitzer. if you think of scintillation is him today, you think -- if you think of sensationalism today, you think of him. >> marking the centennial of the most celebrated award. discover facts about newspaper

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